DENVER – A Colorado man faces several felony charges after he allegedly drove to Wisconsin earlier this week to kidnap a 16-year-old girl whom he’d been talking with online for several years and take her back to Colorado.
Curtis Robert Bowser, 22, of Grand Junction, faces attempted child abduction, child enticement, marijuana possession and drug paraphernalia possession charges after his arrest Tuesday in Brown County, Wisconsin.
According to a criminal complaint for his arrest, Bowser and the teenage girl met online via a friend about two years ago, when the girl was only 14.
The two told officers they had been online friends for some time before they started “online dating”—exchanging messages, photos and videos on various social media applications.
The girl’s parents found out about the relationship in early 2016 and got the school involved, according to the criminal complaint, but Bowser and the teen continued to find ways to communicate.
The probable cause statement for Bowser’s arrest says he even resorted to mailing the girl an iPhone so they could talk without her parents’ knowledge.
At some point this summer, the girl’s parents found sexual messages between the two, and continued to find more.
On Sunday, according to prosecutors, Bowser told the girl he was coming to her home in Wisconsin to pick her up—something she told her father. The girl didn’t believe he would actually come, according to Bowser’s arrest affidavit.
But the next day, the girl and her mother met with sheriff’s deputies to try and get more information about the relationship and to get consent to search the girl’s laptop.
At the meeting, the girl revealed messages showing that Bowser actually did intend to come “kidnap” the girl—something she agreed to in the messages—and bring her back to Colorado to live with him and his grandmother.
The messages also contained hints that Bowser wanted to impregnate the girl.
The deputy agreed to meet with the family again the next day, and got ahold of Bowser’s cellphone number so they could trace it. The next day, when a trace came through, authorities discovered Bowser was in Iowa.
Subsequent geolocation showed that “it was obvious,” according to authorities, that Bowser was headed to Brown County. Just before 9 p.m. Tuesday, Bowser rolled into town and was immediately accosted and taken into custody by a handful of deputies.
According to the criminal complaint, Bowser, who has a Colorado commercial driver’s license and said he worked at an egg-packing plant, Bowser said he and the teen had agreed to the “kidnapping” plot despite knowing it was wrong.
“I knew this was wrong but I love [the teen] and I want to be with her,” the complaint alleges that Bowser admitted.
It says he also admitted that he believed the two would kiss and “mess around” but that he wasn’t going to have sex with her until she was 18. However, he also admitted “that sexual things were going to eventually occur,” according to the complaint.
Bowser allowed officers to search his phone and vehicle. Inside his SUV, they found a small amount of marijuana and a pipe. And inside his phone, deputies found at least one nude photo of the teen girl.
But they talked to the girl again, and she told deputies that while she may have helped hatch the plan, she had no intention of actually leaving with Bowser, and said that’s why she told her parents he was coming.
“I did not want to go with Curtis and if he had showed up I would have woken up my mother and called the police,” the girl said, according to Bowser’s affidavit.
Bowser is being held in Brown County, Wisconsin on a $35,000 cash bond, and is not allowed to contact the victim or her family. His next court appearance is set for next Thursday.